Liminal Ecologies in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake


Margaret Atwood’s novel Oryx and Crake (2003) offers new hope for humanity as well as other life forms by encouraging readers to re-examine human relationships to liminal zones. Existent flora and fauna in the novel reveal some chance for environmental reincorporation, reconciliation, and communitas. In its representation of liminal life from an ecocritical perspective, Oryx and Crake can be read against the grain of critical responses that reduce the novel to an anthropocentric dystopian tale within a backdrop of ecological collapse. Atwood’s novel attempts—with more optimism than people give her credit for—to see through apocalypse to offer more than despair in the face of environmental catastrophe.

This article “Liminal Ecologies in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 206 (Autumn 2010): 61-72.

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